From: James Puz
This might come as a great shock to you, but in keeping with his promises to Make America Great Again, President Donald Trump is entertaining the idea of cuts in Social Security benefits for the disabled. Some 8.5-million Americans receive these benefits. Of that number, 4.2-million children receive benefits because one or both parents have died, became disabled or have retired. Justification for the cuts is in part because we are experiencing a “healthy and robust” economy. I guess a lot of people getting those benefits are considered freeloaders and deadbeats, mooching off the government.
Now, while it’s true the economy is humming right along like a freight train high-balling across the heartland of America, not everybody is experiencing the same euphoria of a burgeoning economy; of “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Here’s why.
Individuals and families make up nearly 140-million souls in America (that’s around 43 percent of the population) who are trying to survive on incomes that don’t cover basic living expenses. For these people, making ends meet is getting harder and harder every day of their lives.
Further proof that not everything is smooth sailing comes from the Brookings Institution which states that 44 percent of all U.S. workers ages 18-64 are engaged in low-wage jobs. That’s a total of 53-million workers (about 16 percent of the population) striving to make ends meet ... in the “land of milk and honey.” And their median hourly wages ... $10.22. And to give some insight to the wage factor; in 1960 my dad was earning about $3 an hour for a good, steady, but unskilled job. Today, that same $3 equates to $27 per hour. Even the federal minimum wage is lagging behind. In 1960 it was $1 per hour while now it is $7.25.
Currently there are 30-million students nationwide getting school lunches each day with about 22 million of them (over 73 percent) from low-income families. In Chicago alone, all of the students in that city’s public schools are eligible for free meals ... all of them. And bear in mind that on a national scale, one in six children (17 percent) are hungry each day. And closer to home, here in Winona, about 50 percent of elementary students in the school district qualify for free meals as do 35 percent of the middle school and high school students.
As you can see, not everybody in this “land of milk and honey” is enjoying the milk, nor the honey.
In 2019, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund with $160 billion in assets, said capitalism at the present time isn’t working for the majority of Americans. Also, in 2019, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase and Co., said that while the American dream is alive, it is also fraying. He said our shortcomings during the past two decades have failed many living in America.
Various corporations are now working together to promote “an economy that serves all Americans,” as Dimon and the Business Roundtable said in a statement. The statement was signed by 181 chief executives of America’s largest corporations.
But as of today, the above statistics are still in effect. Many are still earning $10 per hour, while others must sell-off household items to meet an unexpected $1,000 slam to their budgets.
Yes, the economy is performing quite well for some, perhaps even most in America, but there are still a great many others, who, like riding drag on a cattle drive, are choking on the dust of a whirlwind economy, hoping to get even just a taste of that “milk and honey.”
In the end, it must be viewed that a “healthy and robust” economy is a matter of perspective, two sides of the same coin. If you are a “have,” the economy is good and if you are a “have not,” it ain’t.